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LED lights may lighten your wallet

I’m wondering about the overall about cost of regular Christmas lights vs. LED lights. Is the extra expense for LEDs worth it in the long run because of power savings?

— Kathy, Medford

Well, Kathy, while there is a Santa Claus, he may not be able to put big savings under your LED-lit tree. While you'll be helping the environment by consuming less power, you won't likely be helping your pocketbook, unless you are very patient.

According to www.wecheckenergy.com and our own recent sticker shock at the local Freddies, LED lights will cost you about double the price of regular holiday lights. In the example supplied, the author purchased six strands of LED lights for $162 and the same number of regular lights for $84. So, in hoping to prove his case, he started with a $78 deficit.

The LED lights use about one-sixth the electricity of the regular bulbs, which sounds like a pretty big cost savings. He figured using six strands of regular lights five hours a day for 30 days would cost $8.21 while using six strands of LED lights would total $1.37. A relatively big savings in power, but not a big savings overall because of the initial price. In one year, you would still be running about a $71 deficit.

LED lights will last far longer than regular bulbs, but in his example, it would still take more than a decade for that advantage to put you in the black.

The longer life and reduced power use do ring up a couple of environmental pluses for LEDs. And they give off a crisper light, so maybe Santa will be more likely to find your house on a dreary December night. And that might just make the extra expense worth it.

—Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.